Twenty-five years ago, more than fifty publishing houses held among them the same market share that now was controlled by six global companies. In those days, when there were autonomous publishing houses whose true buisness was publishing , editors possessed autonomy in turn. Their bosses, the publishers who ran the houses, were figures of flesh and blood, rather than unseen bureaucracies. The term “publisher” now was just another job title, and there was no “publisher” who had the power to act independently. The power had shifted to the business departments, whose ineffective calculations of demographics, marketing potentiality, and projected profits decided the fate of books. The racket no longer had much to do with writing. Books were products, and those products that were judged, more often wrongly than not, to represent the lowest common denominator of the taste of the populace were deemed to be of the most value. What the Nobel-laureate physicist Lev Landau said of cosmologists, that they are “often in error but never in doubt,” could far more than justly be applied to these new business-school arbiters of publishing, these subliterate Uriah Heeps in thier blue-chalk-stripe shirts with white cuffs and white Eton collars, these golem whose tastelessness in dress perfectly reflected thier tastelessness in books.
—Nick Tosches - In The Hand Of Dante